Dispatcher helps mom deliver baby

October 30, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The vast majority of calls a 911 dispatcher fields during a shift usually involve bad news and sometimes tragic endings. That wasn't the case Wednesday when Paula Wilson talked a woman through the birth of a healthy baby girl.

A Berkeley County dispatcher for more than six years, Wilson was nearing the end of her shift when a woman called in at about 3:25 p.m., telling her a woman she was with was in labor.

"She was really nervous, but she did a good job. She followed all the directions," Wilson said. Wilson dispatched an ambulance to the Nadenbousch Lane home near Martinsburg and told the caller to get the woman to lay down on the floor.


Wilson instructed the woman to partially disrobe the mother-to-be. She then coached the caller using medical priority cards. Although trained to talk people through such situations, Wilson had never had to do it before.

Within minutes, the baby's head appeared and was out of the birth canal.

"I instructed the caller to get clean towels and immediately clean out the baby's nose and mouth," Wilson said. She then heard the welcome sound of the baby crying.

Minutes later the delivery was complete, with the caller announcing, "Here she is! Here she is!"

Wilson told the woman to wrap the baby girl in clean towels and place her on the mother's stomach. Over the phone, Wilson continued to monitor the condition of the mother and daughter until the ambulance arrived.

She said she did not know the relation of the caller to the new mother. A spokesperson at City Hospital in Martinsburg said the mother and child were both doing well Wednesday night.

"It was just a joy, a happy experience that you can help bring a new life into the world," said Wilson. She and her husband Scott, a corporal with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, have three children.

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